One Punk Summer – Skip Rhudy

Skip Rhudy

aviation, travel, books

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I wrote One Punk Summer in Berlin. I was spending a year on an exchange program between the University of Texas and the Freie Universität Berlin. I arrived just days before reunification. Pieces of the communist police state’s skeleton were still to be seen: A ransacked Checkpoint Charlie that had been taken over by the homeless, long sections of wall and fencing, machine gun towers with huge spotlights standing tall. I climbed up in one of them and looked around; it was well-designed with a good view and a guard was unlikely to miss seeing anyone trying to cross no-man’s land. I had brought a Tandy 1100FD laptop with me (these days I prefer a classic Bic pen and a notebook). I plugged my toaster-sized voltage converter into my tiny dorm room’s single wall socket and it started buzzing; into that I plugged the laptop charger, booted up. I had a Sony Walkman and started a cassette tape rolling of collected random punks songs. Listening to the music I placed a bottle of Ouzo on the windowsill outside. Snow was falling. The punk was exciting and fast paced and completely discordant with the fat beautifully articulated snowflakes gently drifting against the night sky. That conflict and the power of the music got me in the spirit — and suddenly I was banging out the story to The Ramones, Fear, The Dicks, Hüsker Dü.